Hospitality industry names WAVE winners
Eight hospitality professionals have been recognized for excellence at a special awards celebration.
Experience Grand Rapids and the Kent County Lodging Association announced the winners of the 2015 WAVE (Way Above Visitor Expectations) Awards and recognized two certified tourism ambassadors, or CTAs, during their Impacting Hospitality Celebration yesterday.
"The Impacting Hospitality Celebration allows us to show our gratitude and sincere appreciation to the hospitality industry by acknowledging the many dedicated employees, businesses and hometown champs that have each gone above and beyond to provide exceptional service and create memorable experiences for visitors,” said Doug Small, president and CEO, Experience Grand Rapids.
The WAVE Awards is a program that recognizes outstanding service providers in the Grand Rapids and Kent County hospitality industry.
A judging panel evaluated the nominees on a set of criteria: the individual’s attitude, attentiveness, performance, knowledge and consistency within the local hospitality industry.
Six winners were selected in six categories: Restaurants/Breweries; Attraction/Events; Lodging 150+ Rooms; Lodging Less Than 150 Rooms; Retail & Service; and Volunteer in Hospitality.
The six winners will also be nominated in their categories for the Stars of the Industry Awards.
The winners will be announced at the 2016 Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference, which is the annual industry gathering of tourism and lodging leaders hosted by the Michigan Lodging & Tourism Association and Travel Michigan.
Two CTAs were also recognized at the Impacting Hospitality Celebration for their commitment to improving the customer experience.
The CTA program educates individuals on Grand Rapids and the importance of exceptional customer service to the area.
The categories included CTA Star of the Year and CTA Business of the Year.
WAVE Award winners
Haley Salander, Bull’s Head Tavern
Lodging 150+ Rooms
Heather Kullgren, JW Marriott Grand Rapids
Lodging Less Than 150 Rooms
Megan Clark, Hyatt Place Grand Rapids South
Retail & Service
Robert Arrington, Celebration! Cinema Woodland
Deb Christopoulos, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Volunteer in Hospitality
Ruth Visser, STAR at Experience Grand Rapids
CTA Star of the Year
Brian Behler, JW Marriott Grand Rapids
CTA Business of the Year
Ed Wilson, Country Inn & Suites East Beltline